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congee by Ping-kwan Leung

who lights the stove before the sun
warms my belly best
with medley of uneven heat, cool
of intimacy, strangeness –
comes in fire and steam
earthly sufferings without cease
faces smiling trip you up –
the ill-fated caught in a bitter rip
to surge just as it drags them down

after a sleepless night, who’d bring
a bowl of warmth to your bitter chest?
whose hands have skill to pick apart
the thousand knots of a heart?

it’s wearying to toast desire
why still cling to vinegar and salt?
let me peer into the empty whirl instead
and see what you’ve invested –
thousand-year eggs and lean pork
calm the fires in your heart
dried stockfish and peanuts
round off a sweet night’s writhing rice
paddling boats groan to the moon
and to the wind above the shore

only the fish eye of dawn calls for you
dried bean-curd sheet, ginkgo,
pork bones, dace paste
each distinguishes dissolves
you and I – we’re ups and downs in hot rice soup
some people talk it up with abalone and with scallop

let’s taste the everyday bitter-sweet
in the bowl of all folks’ congee

One Response

  1. […] A Guy’s Moleskine Notebook featured this lovely poem Congee by Ping-kwan Leung […]

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